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Where Volunteers Make a Difference

We’re RSVP… Where Volunteers Make a Difference

For over 40 years, The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) has been offering personalized placement, matching volunteers age 55+ with community service opportunities across Dane County.  Our volunteers share their knowledge, interests, experience and energy, contributing to the well-being of their local communities.

RSVP is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization. Our funding is a combination of federal, state, city and county support as well as private grants and donations from local businesses and individuals. Our major funders include: Corporation for National and Community Service, Dane County Department of Human Services, City of Madison, and Wisconsin Department of Health Services. 

Our Mission

To make a positive impact in the community by recruiting volunteers 55 and older to help deliver priority services to people of all ages, providing Dane County with a valuable resource.

Our Vision

RSVP aspires to build and expand a community-wide network of volunteers and organizations that unites compassionate, experienced adults with meaningful and fulfilling service opportunities, which enrich the lives of the volunteers while enhancing support for people in need.

Our Values

Dependability - Partnership - Service - Volunteerism - Innovation

Our History

In 1969 the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) was created as a national volunteer program under the Administration on Aging as part of the Older Americans Act. In 1971, eleven programs were launched, and they became part of the National Volunteer Agency, ACTION. RSVP of Dane County became the first program in Wisconsin in 1972. When the Corporation for National and Community Service was formed in 1993, RSVP joined the newly created Senior Corps division, along with the Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions programs. In 1999 we expanded to include a Foster Grandparent program in Dane County

Today RSVP is one of the largest networks for volunteering in the nation for people age 55 and over, with nearly 300,000 in over 700 programs across the country.  RSVP of Dane County, which has over 1,800 volunteers, is one of the largest programs in the United States.   We have been recognized, both locally and nationally, for our service to older adults.

1988:  RSVP receives a national award from Generations United for intergenerational program development.

1992:  Mary Stamstad, Executive Director, receives an Award for Excellence from Partners in Eldercare AARP/Bureau on Aging.

1997:  Mary Stamstad receives an Intergenerational Program Award from the Madison Civics Club.

1998:  Mary Stamstad receives an Asset Builders Leadership Award from the Madison Community Foundation.

1999:  The RSVP Driver Escort Program wins the JC Penney Golden Rule Award.

2000:  RSVP Driver Escort receives the statewide Bill Nanninga Driver Excellence Award.

2001:  RSVP of Dane County receives the Wisconsin State Literacy Award.

2002:  RSVP and United Way are honored with a state award for "Community Service Cross-Streams Collaboration."

2009:  Gene Kundert, Driver Services Manager, receives the Wes Grambsch Award for outstanding service to the rural and specialized transportation community in Wisconsin.

2009:  RSVP of Dane County receives the STAR Award for Excellence from the Beverly Foundation.

2015:  RSVP of Dane County receives the Distinguished Service Nonprofit Award at United Way of Dane County’s 2015 Community Volunteer Awards.

2016:  RSVP volunteer Karl Stadler receives the Mike McKinney Community Volunteer Award.  Larry Schaefer receives the United Way Community Volunteer Award for Lifetime Achievement, and Bob Gwynne receives the Distinguished Service Award.

2017:  RSVP of Dane County accepts the Governor's Senior Corps Program of the Year Award for its Driver Services/Vets Helping Vets program.

2018:  RSVP Bus Buddy Coordinators, Susan Morrison, Heather Johnson, Bruce Verhelst, and Angela Haskin receive the 2018 United Way Distinguished Service Award.  Bus Buddy Coordinator Heather Johnson also receives WKOW's Jefferson Award.

2019:  RSVP volunteer Richard Hoffman receives the United Way Distinguished Service Award.

Our Current Annual Report

To view our current Annual Report, click on the image above.

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Partners Tell Us

Raised the Bar
“RSVP volunteers have really raised the bar in volunteer involvement; they often take on more than one volunteer assignment and their patience and diligence benefit other volunteers who see them as mentors.”
- Community Organization Representative
Good Fit
“RSVP places committed volunteers who are typically looking to be placed long term. They work to make sure the fit is good for both the volunteer and the agency.”
- Community Organization Representative